An investigation into the enabling, and inhibiting, factors for effectively applying circular economy business models in the Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) sector

  • Rebecca Colley

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


EEE is intrinsically linked to global economic development and prosperity. As a result, global demand for EEE products is increasing annually, which will require access to greater quantities of valuable resources, including plastics, scarce and/or precious metals, and critical raw materials.

The aim of this research was to investigate how production and consumption of EEE can be developed in a more sustainable way through the adoption of circular economy business models (CEBM). The theory currently lacks empirical data on adoption of CEBMs by the EEE value chain, a shortcoming this thesis addresses. The question is asked how adoption of CEBMs offers the opportunity to manage valuable plastics more effectively by slowing, closing, narrowing, and regenerating the flow of materials. The significance of this study is that it informs theoretical understanding of CEBMs by focusing on their current application within the EEE value chain, which increases understanding of how CEBMs work in practice.

Through the case study research undertaken, the findings show that collaboration across the value chain is an essential part of ensuring the success of CEBM adoption as it enables efficient material flows. The research shows that the EEE sector is already aware that CEBMs are an effective mechanism to deliver resource efficiency and carbon reduction and are looking at the best ways to implement them within their business strategies. The pace of transition to CEBMs will be determined by both the legislative framework and effective design of CEBMs so they are desirable to the customer, and economically and practically viable to the organisations delivering them.
Date of AwardJul 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMargaret Bates (Supervisor), Andrew Gough (Supervisor) & Will Wise (Supervisor)


  • Circular Economy
  • Electrical and Electronic Equipment
  • EEE
  • Business models
  • Plastics

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